It took seven nominees to fill this category last year
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Laura Dern of 'Enlightened'
Laura Dern, "Enlightened"
Nomination Status: She wasn't nominated last year, so it'll be hard for her to be nominated this year.
In Her Favor: "Enlightened" went from being a difficult-to-categorize, up-and-down, wholly respectable oddball in its first season to being one of the best shows on TV in its final season. The show, which Dern co-created with Mike White, also did some smoothing when it came to Dern's character. Or maybe we/I just became accustomed to what the show and Dern were going for? Amy Jelicoe didn't suddenly become lovable and stable. She kept misinterpreting the motives of nearly everyone around her. She kept alienating loved ones and ingratiating herself to people who hated her. What she had this season that maybe she didn't have last season was a clear and tangible goal beyond just "enlightenment" and "happiness." Dern mastered all of the character's contradictions and dove in gamely whenever scenes required Amy to do something that had me covering my eyes or screaming at my TV. Last year, Dern wouldn't have made my Top 6. This year, she would.
Working Against Her: After winning the Golden Globe for the first season, Dern wasn't even nominated for the second. Yes, that's a gaffe by an organization prone to gaffes, but it's also a reflection of why HBO was able to cancel "Enlightenment." The audience was miniscule. And even though critics tried hard to fight for the show and tell audiences they were missing out on something special, we couldn't even be bothered to nominate it for TCA Awards.